I really want to like Rasco. The guy works hard, says what he thinks and does what it takes to make it. He came out with a bang, dropping “The Unassisted” 12″ on Stones Throw and making the worldwide hip hop underground notice. After that came “Run the Line,” another sure-shot single. I was all set to be a loyal follower until he dropped his album, Time Waits for No Man. It was okay. His follow-up EP, The Birth, was boring. So I guess I don’t really like Rasco.

My opinion must not be that of the vast majority because Rasco seems to have saved up enough dough to start his own label, Pockets Linted, and kick things off with a compilation album. Planet Asia starts things off nicely, effortlessly flowing his menacing articulation over a nice DJ Khalil (of Self Scientific) beat. Zion I follows with a solid effort, but this is where the tide turns against Rasco’s compilation. Sub-par tracks abound until the Cali Agents bring “On the Hustle,” and we’re already on the third-to-last song. The Grouch and 427 finish strong, giving 20,000 Leagues a Tootsie Pop-like quality: hard on the outsides, soft in the middle.